Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Blockbuster Video collecting Netflix subscriber info

Blockbuster Online has a new gimmick to get you to switch from Netflix. You can bring the "tear-off address flaps of your Netflix rental envelopes" to Blockbuster Video and use them like coupons for "free" rentals. I say "free," because you pay for the time, the gas, and the video, if you don't return it on time. The promotion runs from now until December 21.

This is not going to work, because Netflix subscribers hate making the trip to the store twice for the same movie, the limited selection, and due dates.

This promotion is a way for Blockbuster to find out exactly which of you are Netflix subscribers, so they can spam you. Netflix isn't going to sell their membership mailing list to Blockbuster, so Blockbuster is going to get you to volunteer the information.

Via PRN news press release.


  1. You just took a big step towards sounding even more like a Netflix shill. Maybe this promotion won't work for you. The best thing that you can say for Netflix in this context is that it's nice (as a consumer) that they've put enough pressure on Blockbuster to cause this sort of competition. Personally, I've loved Netflix for a while now but can see that the BB Total Access program has some real potential to add value at the same cost.

    You know why these rentals from Blockbuster are free? I didn't give them any money. I'll return the video on time, the store wasn't out of my way, and I didn't spend too much time in the store (even having to sign up for a store membership).

    I do hate the limited in-store selection (but it was nice to get new releases right away). I'll take new slips in with me next time so that I'm not doing two trips for one rental. Due dates of a week aren't that bad.

    As for your title ("collecting subscriber info"): what are they going to mail to me? homemade pipebombs? No, probably some coupons. Maybe I won't use them, but I won't mind getting them. Try being a little more objective. I'm not trying to shill for Blockbuster, either, just pointing out the counterarguments. This sort of competition in the market is good for consumers, and if Blockbuster's service adds enough value for me, I'll switch. If it doesn't work for you, don't switch, and we'll all be better off for it.

  2. I've been a loyal Netflix customer for 3 years, I love it, I haven't had any issues, and I'm not going to cancel it. If Blockbuster wants to give me free rentals, that's fine by me. I'll use the in-store rentals for new releases and save a lovely spot in my trashcan for any of their spam that comes in my mail. I had to go to two stores tonight, as the one closest to me had no clue what I was talking about:

    "Where'd you hear about this promotion?"
    "Oh, I don't know...ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo! News, Blockbuster's press release..."

  3. Why would Blockbuster go through that expense? You need an account with them to get the promotion and they can SPAM all of their account holders at any time.

  4. Has anyone actually done this yet? I am curious if Blockbuster accepts multiple Netflix tear-offs per visit. For instance, if I want to bring three Netflix tear-offs into Blockbuster, I'd expect 3 free rentals, on the spot.

    Also, I too like the promotion - only because my Blockbuster is not too far away, and what the heck - it's a free rental, might as well take it.

    I could never go back and forth to the store year-round, but this promotion only lasts a few weeks - so I can handle a few trips.

  5. From the posts on HackingNetflix, yes there are many people taking advantage of this promotion. One guy said he got turned in 9 envelope flaps and that was the maximum they would allow him to have checked out. Once he turns those in he should be able to get 9 more.

    While they aren't likely to make me a customer, I'm still glad to have BB around to provide some competition.

    I think BB is still struggling to find a way to turn their B&M stores into an asset in the battle with Netflix. Unfortunately, the coupons and in-store drop-off features are most attractive to heavy-users, who aren't profitable customers. And other things they are trying, like direct shipment from stores, are inefficient and provide inconsistent service when compared with shipping from distribution centers.